STORM LAKE, Iowa (KTIV) - More than a year ago, many schools across Siouxland were shut down due to COVID-19, including the Storm Lake Community School District.
Now, school leaders are left picking up the pieces after what they call "the toughest year yet."
"This was the hardest year to teach ever known to man kind to date," said Stacey Cole, superintendent of Storm Lake Community School District.
A "Summer of Recovery." That's what Storm Lake Community School District along with Buena Vista University is calling a new initiative.
The goal, to erase academic gaps, and remove isolation barriers caused by COVID-19.
"When we didn't get to go to school again last spring we knew we would have some gaps, some unfinished learning happening across the district, we also knew there would be some social and emotional unattended consequences that came from the closure and how schools were ran this year," said Cole.
So what role does Buena Vista University play in this?
Dr. Brittany Garling, the Dean of Education, said many of the district's teachers were burnt out following the difficult year. So, 20 students in BVU's school of education and school of liberal arts are helping make the recovery a reality.
"This is a major prep for them, they are totally prepared and ready after this experience to say yup this is exactly what I want to do," said Dr. Garling.
Nearly 500 students from the district are involved in the summer program.
Jennifer Schneider, one of the student teachers, said being able to work in the district, and get hands-on experience has helped her make decisions about her future.
"This experience even if it's been for a short few weeks has definitely answered my questions about wanting to explore the younger ages," said Schneider.
Overall, they said the initiative is a win-win for all the students.
Several of the college students are staying at the dorms over the summer, for the summer program, at no cost thanks to a donation from a BVU benefactor.